I was tagged for this writing process thing by the fabulous Gwenda Bond, author of Blackwood and The Woken Gods and the upcoming Girl on a Wire which I want to read because CIRCUS and THE BEST COVER. The idea is, you answer these four writing process question and then tag two more people to answer them.
However, as with so many of these kinds of things, I couldn't find anyone to tag who hasn't already done it...though admittedly I also didn't try that hard because I am SCRAMBLING to turn in a book that is late.
1. What am I working on?
I am currently working on the sequel to Dark Metropolis, which of course, I can't talk about much at all because it is chock full of spoilers for Dark Metropolis. It deals with the aftermath of Dark Metropolis and the revolution. It's a very out-of-my-comfort-zone book for me, because it has lots of battles and politics...but also a love triangle-ish thing. I hate love triangles. I'm not sure how that happened. It's a weird book because I feel like it's happier than the first one even though in some ways the characters go through even WORSE stuff. Like, some of you are probably going to hate me for the stuff I do to these people.
When that is done I'm getting back to the "magical Mafia" book, which is an older manuscript I love to pieces but my agent was less keen on. I still love it, but after working with a pretty hard-core editor on Dark Metropolis I have definitely learned a lot that I can apply to the older work, so I'm rewriting it and trying to really notch it up a level. This book is really all about the characters, for me...Alfred Brynn Brawder, the blind heir to an illegal potions dealing dynasty, is my favorite character I've ever written, because on one hand he seems like this laidback, charming guy with some nerdy interests, but he's also very determined and capable of being pretty crafty. Alfred thinks he's a better person than he actually is...and there's a lot of inner conflict to that. I am also equally fond of Olivia because they have such great chemistry but she doesn't want to be in a dangerous business. Or does she? Mostly Olivia is just a normal girl who is vegetarian and outdoorsy-crafty and would probably spend a lot of time of Pinterest thinking about weird-cool things to knit and tasty stuff to bake, if she wasn't so busy getting wrapped up in an overarching storyline, but she also has a badass streak equal to Alfred's. Basically, unlike my other books which have been more external-plot-driven, this book is all about the relationships between characters and it is so fun to write so I hope this rewrite can bring it all together.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
If we're talking about the work I've already published (or is in the pipeline), definitely one thing that has defined my first five novels is that I start with a historical period first and do a LOT of research on the setting, and then I try to come up with a novel that suits that time and place, twisting real aspects of history into the story in new ways and adding a dash of fairy tale and myth.
I am trying to pull away from that a little...as I've learned more about writing with every book, I'm trying to put more emphasis on character rather than setting in the future. Of course, the setting is a character in and of itself, but it probably shouldn't be the main character.
3. Why do I write what I do?
At the core of all my stories is that feeling of being an outsider and trying to find one's place in the world. My characters (unlike me, but true to the way I sometimes feel inside) often have something that marks them visibly as different that they have to contend with. Like many artistic types, as a kid I often felt like a total weirdo and I never had a best friend stick. I also had anxiety issues. My stories and characters were like faithful friends and to this day, they help me to face what is dark and hard in life.
4. How does your writing process work?
I think I'm pretty straightforward. I always have the next story or two percolating while I'm working on the current project, so when I'm done with one, I'm ready to jump into the next. Usually a lot of sketching and scribbling of notes is involved throughout the process. Even though I'm certainly glad the computer was invented for the actual typing of thousands of words, there's nothing like a pen and paper for brainstorming. I write in a linear fashion with an outline I usually deviate from frequently. And I love me some rewriting. I usually tear up every book and rewrite it almost completely, at least once, sometimes maaaaany times. I use playlists to keep me in the mood, though sometimes I also need quiet. I prefer to write at home and I have a wonderful, though very messy, little office that overlooks a rather low-key stretch of the Blue Ridge Mountains. When I lived in Florida this was my dream! It helps my brain, somehow, to be able to stretch my view out when I'm stuck.